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Anti-graft storm rages through China

Source: Xinhuanet | 09-29-2006 08:54

Special Report:   2007 NPC & CPPCC

BEIJING, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese government's anti-corruption drive to safeguard the purity of the Party has won plaudits from the public and expectations of cleaner government.

The latest move was the sacking of Shanghai party chief Chen Liangyu on Sunday for alleged involvement in a social security fund scandal, becoming the highest-ranking official to fall in the latest anti-corruption campaign.

The scandal involves the alleged illicit investment of at least a third of a 10-billion-yuan (1.2 billion U.S. dollars) city social security fund in potentially risky real estate and road projects. Before Chen, the city's labor and social security department chief, a district governor and several prominent businessmen were detained for questioning over the scandal.

"The investigation into Chen's case shows how seriously China is taking the fight against corruption," says Wang Yukai, a scholar with the National School of Administration which trains mid-level and senior civil servants.

"The most prominent feature of this round of anti-corruption war is that it has led to the downfall of quite a few high ranking officials, not only in Shanghai, but also in Beijing, Tianjin and Anhui," says Wang.

Chen was also in the 24-member Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the Party's central executive body.

"No matter who and how high-ranking they are, if they have violated party rules or the law, the investigation will be earnest and the punishment severe," said a statement of the central authorities released on Monday.

Gong Weibin, another scholar with the National School of Administration, observes that the ongoing anti-graft campaign also reveals challenges to the Party in a crucial period of social transaction.

"Corruption is not indigenous to China. It's also afflicting the developed countries, and sometimes leads to the downfall of a government," Gong says. "It's necessary to take an iron fist to crack down on corruption, otherwise the Party might lose support from the general public or even support from ordinary Party members."